JIST - Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics
Whilst most undergraduate science programmes provide students with a project, through which they obtain some experience of the process of scientific research, few students get to know the mechanism by which research output reaches the public domain. Fewer still get to appreciate that the hard part of originality in science is to ask the right questions.
Our students learn about scientific publishing and the peer review process by acting as authors, referees, and editors of the undergraduate journal.
Split into small research groups, the students come up with original ideas for research, and write short scientific papers.
They peer-review the work of other groups in a process overseen by a student editorial board who, based on the referees’ reports of their peers, have the final say on whether or not a paper is published.
We encourage the students to be creative in their topic choice and approach but there must be a core of accurate scientific theory that is communicated clearly.
The student experience is an accurate reflection of that of professional research scientists.
The 2013-2014 academic volume was the first year that students from our exchange partner, McMaster University in Ontario, were invited to submit papers to the journal as part of their own studies; staff from both institutions agree that it was a resounding success.
As far as we are aware this is the first time there has been an international collaboration of this kind as part of an undergraduate degree.
Some of the more creative published papers have gone viral and have been seen on news sites as far and wide as France, Italy, Australia, China and Russia.
A selection of papers have been the subject of radio interviews (BBC Wales, BBC Warwickshire, ABC Melbourne) and numerous media articles; they even got a mention on the BBC’s Have I Got News for You!